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On March 9 and 10, 2019, supporters of the schismatic ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine’ captured churches in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s dioceses of Vinnitsa, Volyn, Chernigov and Chernovtsy-Bukovina, the portal patriarchia.ru.ru reports with reference to pravlife.org.

The church of St. John the Theologian in the village of Bokhoniki, Vinnitsa district, Vinnitsa region, was captured by schismatics on March 9. They cut off and replaced the locks of the entrance door. The rector of the church, Archpriest Oleg Melnik, lodged a complaint with the police. In spite of the aggressive behaviour of the church raiders, the priest managed to take the Holy Gifts and the corporal from the church. In the evening of the same day, Archbishop Varsonofy of Vinnitsa and Bar with some clergy came to Bokhoniki, but the OCU supporters did not let him enter the village by blocking the road, Eparhia.vinnica.ua reports.

The St. Elias church at the village of Klepachev, Kievertsy district, Volyn region, was seized after the statute of the religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was re-registered with the regional authority. The locks of the entrance door were replaced and it was declared that the parish now had a new rector, Roman Moisey of ‘the Kiev patriarchate’. On March 10, the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Klepachev worshipped at the liturgy in the church of the Protecting Veil in the village of Ozertso – the only church of the canonical Church in the territory of the Zhidychin territorial community, which has not been captured yet by schismatics. The community plans to arrange a temporary facility for divine services, Volyn.church.ua. reports.

The St. Nicholas church at the village of Skobelka, Gorokhov district, Volyn region, was captured too after the statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church community was re-registered with the regional authority. The locks of all the doors were replaced; schismatics took possession of all the property that belongs to others. The community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led by the rector, Father Nazary Filippovich, is going to challenge the unlawful re-registration in court, Volyn.church.ua reports.

The church of the Protecting Veil at the village of Kovpyta, Chernigov district, Chernigov region, was captured by representatives of ‘The Right Sector’ (this organization is banned in Russia as extremist), guided by Yevgeny Orda of ‘the Kiev patriarchate’. In the presence of a deputy of the District Council, Vasily Parkhomenko, the raiders broke the lock, got into the church and made ‘an inventory list of the property in accordance with the village council decision of February 22 on the severance of the lease with the MP in Ukraine and transfer of the church facility’. The community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church lodged a complaint with the police over the illegal penetration and break of the locks by burglars. In spite of this, law-enforcement officers refused to seal up the building. On March 10, the OCU community held ‘a divine service’ of their own at the church of the Protecting Veil. The faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had to worship outside the church. After the service, parishioners related repeated threats coming to them and their families, Orthodox.com.ua reports.

The church of the Archangel Michael at the village of Berezhnitsa, Vizhnitsa district, Chernovtsy region, became the victim of a raid carried out on March 10, the Forgiveness Sunday. The church had been under a threat of capture since February 17. To defend their church, the community held a continuous prayer vigil. On March 7, schismatics attempted to get in the church. As a result of the 19-hours’ standoff, an agreement was reached that the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would celebrate in their church until the dispute was resolved in court. However, in the morning of March 10, ‘an initiative group’ for the move to ‘the PCU’ ‘changed their mind’ and prevented the rector of the church, Father Constantine, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the church. Under the control of the police and the chairman of the Banilov village council, Vasily Solomko, the raiders sawed off the locks and took possession of the building, the press service of the diocese of Chernovtsy-Bukovina reports.

DECR Communication Service